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Arick Dyrdal, February 23 2023

Why are architects and contractors separate entities?

On February 23, 1857, 13 architects met in Richard Upjohn’s office to form what would become the American Institute of Architects.

The history of architecture and construction is a long and complex one, with many changes and shifts in the roles and responsibilities of architects and contractors. In the past, architects were often responsible for both the design and construction of a building project. However, as the field of architecture developed and the construction industry grew, architects began to focus more on the design aspect of their work, leaving the construction phase to contractors.

This shift can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As the construction industry became more industrialized, it required specialized labor and equipment, leading to the emergence of professional contractors. At the same time, the field of architecture was becoming more academically and professionally recognized, with the establishment of architecture schools and professional organizations.

As architects began to focus more on design, they also began to distance themselves from the manual labor of construction. This shift can also be attributed to the rise of the middle class and the desire for white collar work, as opposed to blue collar labor. Architects began to see themselves as part of the white collar society, working in offices and collaborating with contractors rather than getting their hands dirty on construction sites.

This shift towards a more specialized and professional approach to architecture and construction has had both positive and negative impacts. On the one hand, it has allowed for the development of more advanced and sophisticated building designs. On the other hand, it has also created a divide between the design and construction phases of a project, leading to potential communication and collaboration issues.

Overall, the history of architecture and construction is a complex and evolving one, with many changes and shifts in the roles and responsibilities of architects and contractors. As the field continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how the relationship between these two professions continues to change and develop.

Written by

Arick Dyrdal


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